It's all about the story, right? And for us writers and readers of thrillers, the story has to be made up. Otherwise, how would it thrill us?
Anthony Flacco has the answer.
The Road Out of Hell is not technically a thriller. How could it be? It's true. But it thrills us just the same. Thrills us for reasons that go beyond chases and crashes and narrow escapes and impossible heroes. It thrills us because the hero is a hero. It thrills us because he saves the victim. It thrills us because he lives happily ever after. Mostly.
The hero is 13-year-old Sanford Clark, delivered in 1926 by his deranged mother into the hands of his uncle, Gordon Stewart Northcott, a pedophile and a murderer. For two years he struggles to survive - to survive the beatings and the abuse and the assaults on himself, to survive the same on other children, only they are murdered as well. When his sister finally brings the authorities down on his uncle, he is freed and that nightmare ends.
And the new nightmare - struggling with that history for the rest of his life - begins. This is the story of those two years of horror, and of how young Sanford survived and recovered. His redemption begins with his testimony in one of the most spectacular trials in history up till then, and culminates through a life lived well.
"What I discovered in Sanford Clark was his amazing lifelong process of recovery. That boy and the man that he eventually became convinced me that there was a powerful story here, and I also believed that I could write it in such a way that in spite of the great darkness of its beginning, it would also pay off with its truthful ending of redemption and the wonderful story of how he got there."
Anthony Flacco is much more than a reporter of the facts. His background in acting and screenwriting gives him a wonderfully visual style, his characters fully detailed and developed, his scenes clearly seen, if only in the reader's head.
"The Who, What, When, and Where of a story are covered in the journalistic approach. But I believe that it is always in the Why of any person's behavior that we uncover a mother lode of fascinating twists and turns in human personality."
Flacco's other non-fiction work validates his credentials, including A Checklist for Murder and Tiny Dancer, both true stories of remarkable humans, good and bad. And he has written true-crime documentaries for The Discovery Channel and Court TV.
"The Road Out Of Hell requires much more of its writer than merely reciting proven facts. The reader has to be that boy. I say to the reader, if you will agree to take this journey through that portion of his life, then you will be able to join his ride of redemption. It's a powerful ride, one where I am certain readers will find a deeply satisfying experience."
His true talent for this work, for finding the stories that compel us, for creating thrillers from real life stories, comes from his philosophy, his commitment to the decency of most people, and his rejection of despair.
"For every true reason to regard humanity with distain there is a reason to stand in awe of human character at its finest. If you, as a writer, cannot truthfully bet on the side of humanity, then I see your despair as a self-revealing description of an unbalanced point of view. It leads one to dance away with the laughing blind who know the cliff isn't there because they don't see it."
Anthony Flacco has seen the cliff, many times over, through the eyes of his real-life subjects, and like them, he prefers to dance in the opposite direction.
Causes Anthony Flacco Supports
Folks, it's time for us to take that final step and enforce the implanting of GPS chips into the skull of every citizen and non-citizen alike. We all...